After reviewing the circumstances leading to Celtics-Nets players’ scuffle that broke out into the courtside stands last night, the NBA responded Thursday by suspending Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo two-games for instigating the fight.
Rajon Rondo will remain suspended through Boston Celtics’ game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday and Sunday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Additionally, the NBA also fined Rajon Rondo $200,000 for starting the scuffle.
Other players involved in the scuffle during Boston Celtics’ 95-83 loss Wednesday night were also penalized by the NBA, but not suspended. Boston Celtics big man Kevin Garnett was fined $25,000, while Brooklyn Nets forward Gerald Wallace was also fined $35,000.
The 26-year-old Rajon Rondo ended his historic 37-game assist streak Wednesday night when he was ejected from the game for charging at Brooklyn Nets forward Kris Humphries after he hard fouled Kevin Garnett with 29 seconds remaining in the first half. Rajon Rondo initially shoved Kris Humphries instigating a scuffle beneath the Boston Celtics Basket that extended into the front row seats, with Kevin Garnett and Gerald Wallace also piling in. Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace were also ejected from the game.
Rajon Rondo made his case before the NBA early Thursday, before being officially suspended.
"I told them the truth," stated Rajon Rondo. "I don't think I did anything dirty. I didn't try to start a riot. I don't think it was more than just a pushing war."
Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers wasn’t pleased that the NBA exempted Kris Humphries on Thursday and believed that the Brooklyn Nets forward was to blame for starting the scuffles. Doc Rivers expressed that Rajon Rondo was simply “standing up” for his guy “who just got his legs cut out from under him.”
However, the game officials who awarded technical fouls to players involved in the scuffle disagreed with Doc Rivers’ assumption.
"Rondo initiated everything that proceeded after the foul,” stated referees crew chief James Capers.
Boston Celtics general manager Billy King strongly defended the NBA’s decision not to fine Kris Humphries on Thursday and cited that the forward was badly scratched all over his arm following the scuffle.
"I really could care less of what the Celtics say about Kris," said Billy King. "I just know what he does for us."
This is the third time in the present year the NBA suspended Rajon Rondo in a disciplinary action. Rajon Rondo was previously suspended for two games ahead of the All-Star break for throwing the ball at an official, and then again bumped a game after Game 1 against the Atlanta Falcon for chest-bumping an official while arguing over a disputed call.
While Rajon Rondo acknowledged needing some work on maintaining his emotions during the game, the seemed all but unapologetic for the scuffle.
“"I play the game the right way… Sometimes I let my emotions get the best of me, but I have no intention of hurting anybody," stated Rajon Rondo. “I play the game hard; I play the game with an edge. I'm not a trash-talker. I don't play the game dirty.”
“(But) when one of my guys are disrespected, I retaliated,” added Rajon Rondo. “I was sticking up for my teammates. I didn't try to start a fight."